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Detroit Tigers State Of The Union For 2016

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL - and could still use another Starting Pitcher and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter - this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5%, it would not cost the club more than about $5 in fees if that were to happen. They and the Angels would have the most to gain by crossing the Luxury Tax limit.

The Tigers are already at a budget of near $180 MIL – and could still use another Starting Pitcher and OF to add to the mix. What if they were to sign Yoenis Cespedes and then add another Starter – this could bring them over the $200 MIL barrier. With just a penalty of 17.5% for one year over, it would not cost the club more than about $5 MIL in fees if that were to happen.  It is only because they are the most winnable Division – and can draw over 3 Million fans that I would even say this is a good idea to spend more money for one season.

Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead  Analyst) 

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The Detroit Tigers are getting older by the second.  The recent Free Agent signings of Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey, Mark Lowe and Jarrod Saltalamacchia – coupled with the acquisitions of Cameron Maybin, Justin Wilson, Francisco Rodriguez have just furthered the ticking time bomb of father time.

Departing from the 2015 Roster are: Ian Krol, Rajai Davis, Alex Avila, Alfredo Simon, Al Alburquerque, Joe Nathan and Tom Gorzelanny.

If you also add 4 months from each of Yoenis Cespedes, Joakim Soria and David Price to the list from the beginning of 2015, how does the departed compare to the incoming for 2016?

It actually is pretty fair, but the difference comes down to Cespedes.  The Bullpen may be a lot stronger as well.  Simon and Avila is favorable to Saltalamacchia and Pelfrey.

Rodriguez, Lowe and Wilson compares to Soria and Albuquerque and Gorzelanny strongly.

Price and Zimmermann is at least comparable, with Price maybe holding a slight edge, but not at an extension of $107 MIL over 2 years better. Value wise, the Tigers may have the better long term deal.

So with this in mind, the 2016 club is not better on paper yet.

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly's, and was tie for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz.

Yoenis Cespedes led all LF for HRs with 35 on the campaign in 2015. He picked a contract year for his best season to date out of the 4 years he has been in the Major Leagues. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets in 2 months, after smacking out just 18 in the first four months with Detroit. Cespedes finished in the top 40 for both leagues in respective big fly’s, and was tied for 13th overall with Manny Machado and David Ortiz in the Majors.  I still believe if you sandwich hitting him between a full year healthy of Cabrera and Victor Martinez, and before J.D. Martinez, that they would be a dominant force.  If the Tigers don’t ink Cespedes, they should still spend the money to upgrade on other spots like Starting Pitching or another Outfielder.

I also am one of the people who really think the team should re-sign Cespedes to complete the offseason).

2016 should see a full year from Miguel Cabrera, and hopefully Justin Verlander can stand upright for the campaign as well.

Victor Martinez struggled in 2015, but he also rallied around the last time he had an injury plagued year, when he came back from his broken leg in 2012.

With the team at a payroll of $175 MIL already it is a bleak prognostication towards the future.  The core of the club is well over the age of 30

Victor Martinez, 37.  V-Mart will really need to pick up from his 2015 season – where he 3 slashed .245/.301/.366 in his worst year since 2009.  It was only 2014 where he held a .967 OPS and led the American League with a .409 OBP.

The Tigers will need his Batting Average to be in the .280 – .300 range, and also hope he is capable of bashing 50 Extra Base Hits.  I mean that is what they are paying him for as a DH.

Really, the Tigers are also paying a stipend of Prince Fielder‘s contract at $6 MIL per year for the next 5 seasons.  Maybe the club would have been better just having kept Fielder instead of Martinez.  The two contracts of V-Mart and Fielder equal about what the big man makes anyway.

Mike Aviles, 35.  This guy has never really been league average for anything since leaving KC.  At least there he held  .734 OPS.  He hasn’t even topped that mark since 2010.  Hopefully Castellanos, Kinsler and Iglesias all keep healthy and limit his AB in 2016.

Ian Kinsler, 34.  This guy has been what is advertised in Motown.  He has scored 190 Runs, clubbed 114 Extra Base Hits and driven in 165 RBI in his 2 years for Detroit.  These are above average marks for the position of Second Base.

Kinsler’s .748 OPS mark is a little bit his career average of .791, but his Batting Average at .285 is better.  He is just not walking as much,  That is okay when you have Cabrera and Martinez in the same lineup, if both are doing their jobs.

Francisco Rodriguez, 34.  K-Rod had a renaissance back in Milwaukee the last few years, and is the current active leader for Saves ALL – Time with 386 of them.  Rodriguez has Saved 82 games over the last 2 seasons, and both campaigns saw WHIP’s of under 1.

Lets hope that the curse of Detroit Relievers doesn’t catch up to him let it has with Joe Nathan, and to a lesser extent Joakim Soria.

Cabrera is already the Active leader for Career Batting Average among players. He has a .326 Lifetime Average for the Tigers. Provided he can maintain relatively healthy, he should make it into the top 5 ALL - Time for Hits - with a chance for 4000 Hits if he can be dominant for the next 3 - 4 seasons..

Cabrera is already the Active leader for Career Batting Average among players. He has a .326 Lifetime Average for the Tigers. Provided he can maintain relatively healthy in 2016, he should contend for his 5th Batting Title in the last 6 years for the ‘Motown Boys’.  Expect some of the Home Runs to fall short of what his MVP years were,  but I still expect him to be the near the top of the league for Doubles, Walks and Runs Scored.

Miguel Cabrera, 33.  I still think Miggy can contend for the American League Batting Title, club 25 HRs, add 40 or sou Doubles, and drive in and score 100 Runs.

The man has a 3 Slash with Detroit of .326./.406/.574 with Detroit for his career – although I figure some of home run power must have been sapped with his injuries over the last 2 years.

Justin Verlander, 33.  I think the Cy Young version of JV has ended, but maybe he can wharf into a great #2 pitcher.   I believe 12 – 14 wins and 180 IP per season should be considered a success in the coming years.

The Detroit Tigers are certainly lucky the San Diego Padres took Matt Bush with the 1st overall pick - as Justin Verlander has been the best pitcher in the American League over the last 5 years. Verlander is 137 - 77 (.640) with a 3.41 ERA in the 1st 9 years of his career. The 2011 AL Cy Young Winner and 2012 Cy Young runner up is signed with the club until at least 2019, and it could be 2020 with a Vesting Option. Verlander has thrown over 200+ IP each year since 2007.

The Detroit Tigers are certainly lucky the San Diego Padres took Matt Bush with the 1st overall pick – as Justin Verlander was the best pitcher in the American League from 2009 – 2013. Verlander was 137 – 77 (.640) with a 3.41 ERA in that span of his career – before the last 2 years, where he has gone 20 – 20, with an ERA of near 4 in 52 Game Starts. I saw the man pitch a few times in September of last year, and he looks to be rounding back into at least a quality pitcher.  He will never be worth his $28 MIL a year over the next 4 years, but if he can win close to 15 games a year – and pitch 180 Innings, that could really help the franchise.

Mark Lowe, 33.  Decent Relief guy that will fill the role vacated by the departed Albuquerque.  He has had great years in the past for teams.

Anibal Sanchez. 33.  Sanchez still has the stuff to be a quality Starting Pitcher.  It was only 2013 where he led the American League with a 2.57 ERA – before regressing to a 3.43 and 4.99 ERA in the 2 years after that.

If he can return to somewhere near his career ERA of 3.70, he should win 12 – 14 games as well.

Mike Pelfrey, 33.  #5 guy and for him to eat his innings.  Depending on how good he throws, it will mean the club not dipping into the Minor League system.  Not a bad little signing, with little risk at just $16 MIL over two seasons.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 31. Salty just has to do better than Alex Avila did the last 2 years.  This guy needs to show some pop in splitting the duties up with McCann.

Jordan Zimmermann joining the Tigers has reopened their winning window for at least next year. He will need to bring his ace like stuff to Detroit in order for them to compete in 2016.

Jordan Zimmermann joining the Tigers has reopened their winning window for at least next year. He will need to bring his ace like stuff to Detroit in order for them to compete in 2016.  The former Nationals pitcher was their best and most durable pitcher over the last few years.  Zimmermann has a career record of 70 – 50, with a 3.32 ERA and 1.159 WHIP.  He finished in the top 7 in CY Young Voting for the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, flashing #1 arsenal like artillery from his arm.  He needs help from either Sanchez or Verlander to take over the #2 and #3 spots after him.

Jordan Zimmermann, 30.  If this club has any chance of contending, Zimmermann will have to be a dominant as David Price was for the club.  A mid 2 ERA, and for him to challenge for the CY Young award like Price may be tough to duplicate.  His stuff translates to a #1 Pitcher if on though.

Yes the team does have several players under the age of 30 as listed position starters in C, James McCann, (RF) J.D. Martinez, (CF) Cameron Maybin, (LF) Anthony Gose and Nick Castellanos at 3B.   It just gets blown out of proportion by Kinsler, Cabrera and Martinez.

J.D. Martinez is the best of the under 30’s, where the other players have not lived up to their prospect billings yet.

Daniel Norris might be the only Starting Pitcher to be under 30 on opening day.

J.D. Martinez backed up his 2014 impressive breakout season with a Silver Slugger Award/top 15 AL MVP Voting and ALL - Star Appearance last year. Martinez smacked 38 HRS and added 103 RBI, which led the club in both categories. He was the only guy to remain healthy for the whole year.

J.D. Martinez backed up his 2014 impressive breakout season with a Silver Slugger Award/top 15 AL MVP Voting and ALL – Star Appearance last year. Martinez smacked 38 HRS and added 103 RBI, which led the club in both categories. He was the only guy to remain healthy for the whole year.  The former Astros OF is entering his age 29 year and has 2 more years left of Team Control.

So really this club has to remain healthy.

The team does have a ton of money already committed to future payrolls, but has several players coming off the books in 2018 with  V-Mart, Maybin, Sanchez and Kinsler have Buyout options, K – Rod and J.D. Martinez will also be Free Agents.  Signing Cespedes is still possible under those parameters.

This squad wreaks of .500 right now.  I would say 82 – 84 wins.  By adding a premiere player, that could add about another 3 to 4 wins. The 2015 club finished a dismal 74 – 87, but were saddled with injuries to key personnel all year.

Detroit lost 9 players for a total sum of nearly $37 MIL in team salary on the Disabled List in 2015.  They will need do better than that next season.  Although with older players making a lot of money, and aging rapidly, it could be a lot of years on the sick bay before this team improves its outlook.

This franchise better thank its lucky stars it resides in the AL Central right now.  They are much like that former champion boxer – who could hit you with a ‘haymaker’ punch and knock you out, or just show their age instead.  Somebody ring the bell. Ding. Ding..

Victor Martinez posting an OPS of .667 after being one of the premiere hitters in the game over the last four years really killed the offensive MoJo on the club. V-Mart may not be capable of hitting for his career 3 Slash of .302/.367/.467 as a 37 Year old now, but he needs to resemble at least 80% of that guy if Detroit wants to compete in 2016. V-Mart will earn $18 MIL over the next 3 years - while they still fork out $6 MIL per season for trading Prince Fielder, who makes $24 MIL a year. Fielder is 5 years younger and was way more productive in 2015.

Victor Martinez posting an OPS of .667 after being one of the premiere hitters in the game over the last four years really killed the offensive MoJo on the club. V-Mart may not be capable of hitting for his career 3 Slash of .302/.367/.467 as a 37 Year old now, but he needs to resemble at least 80% of that guy if Detroit wants to compete in 2016. V-Mart will earn $18 MIL over the next 3 years – while they still fork out $6 MIL per season for trading Prince Fielder, who makes $24 MIL a year. Fielder is 5 years younger and was way more productive in 2015.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my record 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015.  It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. 

During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

Interview on CSN Philly during the month of July.

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Posted on December 29, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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